Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Frankenstein Cliff, Ripley Falls (attempt), Arethusa Falls, NH
Trails: Frankenstein Cliff Trail, Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail, Arethusa Falls Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, February 21, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking, though lots of cars due to ice climbers and folks going up to see the falls. In theory there is a $5 charge, but the little, green post you are supposed to put it in was plowed in behind a six-foot pile of snow. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Nothing of note. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Several majors blowdowns up along the cliff ridge. Most were duck-unders, but one literally required crawling. There were three notable ones on the way to Ripley as well that required going around. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw evidence of them, but didn’t see any. Better hope your dog likes sinking in deep snow (see notes below)... 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: POSTHOLES. Apparently no one uses snowshoes on these trails. Snow is 30-40” deep in most places (maybe more) with a semi-solid layer an inch or two down but then powder under that. Snow was in rough shape up to the cliff due mostly to the ice climbers. It improved a bit after that, but there were still a fair number of postholes that made using snowshoes tricky at times (but they were still way better than sinking thigh deep). We originally were just going to do the cliff and Arethusa, but having gotten to the Ripley trail in really good time, we decided to try to shoot over to see those falls as well despite the trail looking as if it hadn’t been used at all this winter. Breaking trail wasn’t too bad until we hit the really steep part. We got very nearly to the falls but we’re still on a really steep section in deep, powdery snow so we called it and headed back. Once we were back on the main trail over to Arethusa Falls, it started to get really chewed up by people without snowshoes. It was downright awful and difficult to navigate in spots due to the postholes (there was one spot that I swear looked like some kind of fight had broken out). Once we got on the Arethusa Falls trail itself, it got much better since it was packed out solid by people coming up to look at the falls. At that point we switched to crampons (micros would have worked too and, honestly, it looked like some people did it in sneakers, but I like the crampons in the deeper stuff). Falls were frozen solid (and cool!). Anyway, got almost eight miles in. Not bad. It justified the cookie and Moxie I had when I got home.  
Name: Ian D 
E-Mail: iantdurham gmail com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-02-21 
Link: http:// 
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